To say these past few weeks have been heavy would be a bold understatement. As we engage in a world that is becoming increasingly aware of both historical and current Black plight in America, many of us are feeling emotions we are not accustomed to experiencing for such extended periods of time. We may not have the perfect response or solution as an organization, however, we will NOT let that fear keep us silent on our stance on the issue.
As a community that stays plugged into the current events, we are aware of a series of state-sanctioned racism and violence that has come to light in recent weeks, yet race-targeted crimes like these have been happening for hundreds of years. Let us be clear:
Black Lives Matter. We need to proclaim this and be this specific in 2020 because the reality is that through institutionalized racism, the overwhelming messaging black people are experiencing is that they do not matter. Black lives matter, and we need to exemplify the truth that beyond this, black lives are vital, valued, and celebrated here.
Black Lives Matter. For any of us wondering what this has to do with teaching or why we engage in such long, on-going Race and Equity sessions, my answer is simply this: teaching and anti-racism cannot be separated. Outside of the home, school is the most powerful place this message will be communicated or withheld. At the end of the day, we are raising kids together and we must deliberately work to be effective in our efforts. We have a significant obligation and opportunity to intentionally develop our learners into empathetic, critically-thinking, and responsible individuals.
Black Lives Matter. We are each urgently charged to look inward. Before publically amplifying the work you are doing, ask yourself the tough questions:
- How are you valuing yourself and others as it relates to your identity?
- How will you plan to create space for your students to value themselves and empathize with experiences outside of their own?
- How can you affirm and empower your black learners’ identities in a world that does not?
Again, teaching and anti-racism cannot be separated. May we continue the work that we started with even more fervor and intention than ever before.